AT&T Early Upgrade Fee for Smartphones Goes from $75 to $200



Hardly a week goes by that a new smartphone option doesn’t pop up for major carriers, and with new choices comes higher consumer desire to upgrade early. AT&T is keenly aware of this, and the company that just added a handful of new Android phones to their lineup this week has accordingly upped their early upgrade fee for smartphone by $125. Now, instead of paying $75 to switch to a newer handset early, AT&T subscribers will need to pony up a cool $200.

AT&T said to employees, “This change to our exception pricing is necessary to maintain our ability to provide customers with the best selection of devices and maintain our leadership in the Smartphone category.” Yeah, that sounds about right. Don’t worry though, if you want to grab a feature phone or basic messaging device the change in fees won’t affect you.

[via BGR]

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  1. One of the many reasons I’ll never switch to AT&T

  2. So happy to be gone from AT&T…this is just another example of their greed.

  3. why not for iphone ? isn’t iphone the most expensive smartphone out there.

  4. Is this early upgrade the same as Verizon? You can upgrade after 12 months?

  5. What they “Should do”.. requires some math.. you take the purchase price, less your initial payment for the phone.. and that is the “payoff price”.. then divide that by 24 months, and each month the payoff price is reduced by that amount.. So the longer you have the phone, the cheaper it is to pay it off..

  6. ….damn, sprint is looking so good right now.

  7. So if its $200 to do an early upgrade to a smartphone what exactly is the big savings on not just purchasing the phone at full non-contracted price?

  8. Thankfully I was up for renewal, so my Captivate didn’t cost me an extra $200 – I love the lame excuse that they need to do this to maintain quality blah blah blah – no, they just don’t want to deal with all the changes as people upgrade.

  9. ATT is some fucked upshit

  10. HAHAHA take that at&t that’s why at&t is the worst carrier i rather go with sprint instead ha!

  11. @Bob, I think they already have such a policy for the iPhone specifically. This just adds the other smartphones to a similar screw-the-customer stance.

    Just seems that they are trying to give customers a reason to switch providers… I really don’t understand. No option for “no contract” with new customers. Change the data plans. Now this. They should all allow a new customer to at least sign up without a contract.

  12. Sad they spend so much time in finding new ways to screw customers instead of improving their infrastructure.

  13. So happy I’m sticking with T-Mobile.

    I will never ever switch to AT&T

  14. So what’s the ETF price? Would it be better to drop AT&T and go elsewhere for a month? Yet another company pushing customers to Sprint.

  15. One more reason I would NEVER, EVER go back to AT&T. Notice that the iPhone is an exception? So IF I wanted to go from a RIM smartphone to an iPhone the $75 fee would still apply. GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY

  16. Anyone taking bets as to when this is going to go to all of the American carriers? First it was tiered data pricing, which Verizon intends to copy … now this.

    I just hope that this doesn’t spread into Canada.

  17. My AT&T Contract runs out in 34 days. I can wait that long. Then it is hasta la vista, baby.

  18. Who’s calling the shots over at ATT? Did they recently appoint a new decision maker or CEO who has lost their mind. I’m not with ATT, but every bit of new news I hear from their camp makes ATT even less attractive then it already is.

  19. at&t can disappear from the planet

  20. Verizon early upgrade fee $20 Att $200 hmmm….

  21. I’m on Verizon now and (thankfully) switched from AT&T a couple years ago. However Sprint or T-Mobile is looking real good right now when my contract ends next December. As far as I know Verizon doesn’t have an “early upgrade” fee. You either wait for your upgrade or you pay the unsubsidized price. At least thats what I been told every time I go in and ask if I can get off this PoS Droid Eris.

    The whole subsidization thing is nothing but a farce listing phones at 400% markup unsubsidized to scare people into 2-year contracts. When truth is the device is worth nothing more than you paid for it at the subsidized cost – the carriers are still profiting when you sign the contract.

  22. Every month I find a new reason to be happy I switched from AT&T to Verizon 4 years ago!
    And there was just an announcement the other day that Verizon will begin offering the Apple Iphone 4 early next year. I’m sure once this happens you’re going to see tens of thousands of customers jump ship and go with big red! AT&T continues to bitch slap it’s customers and that’s why Verizon will continue to be the number one cell provider in the country.

  23. re: Terrormasters comment….
    For months now Verizon has offered no charge for early upgrades for the Samsung Fascinate, Droid X, HTC Incredible and Droid 2 if your contract is up this year. Can’t beat that!

  24. Good move, AT&T. Now customers looking to upgrade to the latest device can move to another carrier at little to no additional cost, or possibly even save money. Hmmm… pay AT&T $200 so I can buy another device and lock myself in for another two years, or pay the ETF and be done with AT&T for good.

    Repeat after me: “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…my mother said to pick the very best one, and no eff’n way that’s you!”

  25. Can you say ‘Not doing any business with you, you POS provider’? I knew that you could!

  26. Screw AT&T. Of course they would charge up the ass for an early upgrade fee for a smartphone except the iPhone because they are Steve Job’s bitch. $200 is BEYOND riduculous. You’re paying the contract phone price TWICE. Might as well pay full price and end your contract earlier. They really know how to screw their customers over. First getting rid of their unlimited data plan, and now this! I’m so glad I’m with T-Mobile. I only pay $18 for an early upgrade fee.

  27. Hate to say it but that’s pretty standard here in Canada already. With TELUS I pay $10 per month for each month remaining on my contract to upgrade early. Once I have 6 months or less left, there’s no fee. Cheaper than $200, sure…but this $20 early upgrade fee some of you speak of is not likely going to last.

  28. Hahahaha wtf fuck atnt straight out garbage ass carrier take da 200 n shove it up ur ass shady as fuck dats why I went wit sprint n I’m happy as ever got da evo only bout 90 wit tax n all can’t beat dat

  29. This is why I am still with Sprint. I comparison shop every year but between prices tied with T-Mobile for lowest, coverage second only to Verizon (and free roaming on Verizon), and new customer pricing every year instead of every two years I can’t find anyone who will beat them. The second someone beats them on price and coverage I will switch. I have no real loyalty to any of these companies. I just go with the best deal and Sprint has been the best deal for me for the past several years.

  30. F U AT&t AFTER MY CONTRACT ENDS I’M MOVING TO T-MOBILE. AT LEAST THEY DON’T OVER CHARGE THEIR CONSUMERS. And I’m still enjoying my new X10 got it This past Tues :).

  31. Ok yes this is really a disgusting move on AT&T’s part but all of you crying out about how much AT&T sucks are a bunch of hypocrites. Next week there’ll be a story about yet some new low move by Verizon and it’ll be all the same exclaimations. “X is the worst carrier ever. So glad to have left them. That’s why I’m on Y.” Roll the dice and put any carrier in for X and Y, there’ll be reasons for it.

    Truth of it is, ALL THE CARRIER SUCK. They ALL treat their customers like crap, and this fanboyism people have for their pet carrier just makes it worse. The people on their carrier are too busy being hypocritical fanboys to hold their own pet carrier accountable for the crap THEY do, and so the carriers are encouraged to just push the envelope further.

    You know what? I’m on AT&T. Not really by choice. I was on a smaller carrier, who had better prices, better plans, and better customer service… but they sold out. Prices went up… A LOT, customer service vanished.

    Could I switch to Verizon? I suppose… but I’d just be moving from one horrible cell carrier to a different cell carrier even MORE horrible, who has WORSE coverage and I’d lose the benefits and freedom of GSM phones. Sprint’s coverage is virtually non-existent and T-Mobile doesn’t offer service in our state. So I reluctantly stay with AT&T… but I’m no fanboy, and I’ll condemn them for this as much as the non-customers. But those of you not on AT&T need to stop acting like your own carriers are angels.

  32. Hmm, how about that timing? They reduce the early upgrade offer to rock-bottom prices to entice people to upgrade to the newest iPhone and get locked into a two-year agreement, and then jack the price up right as word leaks out that the Verizon iPhone is practically a done deal. It’s like they working as hard as they could to lock in as many people as they can. However, jacking up the price now makes it seem like they’re begging anyone who hasn’t upgraded to dump them and go to Verizon as soon their iPhone comes out next year.

    Oh well, I dislike AT&T and Apple for pretty much the same reasons, and refuse to do business with either of them, so I could personally care less at the moment. Android gives me everything I could possibly want in a smartphone right now, and Verizon is hands-down the network to beat where I live, so I’m sticking with those options for the foreseeable future. Do I think Verizon is perfect? Of course not. But fortunately, I’ve never had any reason to deal with their customer service, so honestly, I can’t even comment on that. And after all, isn’t that the point, to get service that’s so good, you never have to yell at them to fix anything? I’m not giving them a free pass on anything, just saying that I have yet to ever need to use their customer service, because the wireless service just plain works like it’s supposed to.


  34. This is just another reason at&t will soon be a thing of the past for me. I think raising the price is bad enough but what really got me fuming is this. I am a 13 year customer with 3 lines on a family plan. I saw all these Android phones coming out from Verizon and that was when I realized at&t had their nose up Apples behind about a thousand miles. I waited patiently and finally an “android” phone was released to at&t. I was eager to try the phone which is a Motorola Backflip (even though I have had horrible experiences with Motorola since my StarTac) because it was android (so they say) and it was advertised as upgradeable to 2.1. This was in early April I purchased the Backflip and I only purchased it because it sounded like the upgrade was ready or would be anytime. They have pushed the upgrade back over 20 times now and I am still stuck with this fake android phone I never would have purchased in a million years if 1.5 was going to be on it for over 8 months. I called customer relations and told them I just wanted to give my phone back and get a different phone due to the lies they told everyone about the 2.1 upgrade. They laughed at me and told me it would cost me $600 to upgrade to an Aria or Captivate. Well 13 years of loyalty to at&t was no problem on my end but the fact that they could do nothing for me and promised that someone in charge would call me within 3 days and of course never did is all it is taking for me to change my loyalty to them. Now they can take their tongues out of apples ass and work on getting some real Android phones out. Its just to bad that now the upgrade prices are going up. I do not trust at&t and I will be leaving them this year so I do not have to pay a thousand dollars to end early. They should be ashamed of what they are doing when money is tight for everyone right now and maybe they should make all their employees use a Backflip with a locked version of android 1.5 on it and see how much they like it. Screw you at&t. I’m all set with the games you keep playing.

  35. Me can’t complaint. Me employer pays me phone bill for me iPhone 4, so me very happy. All the people me know are with AT&T, so all calls are free. The unused minutes rollover are great. Me hate Verizon due to being a none GSM carrier. Don’t take your Verizon phone with you when travel oversea. The shit is useless.

  36. AT&T always does this kind of thing to maximize profits when a new phone launches. This is similar to the switch in Data plans right before the iPhone 4 launch. This IMO is to screw over the Blackberry users wanting to switch over to the Torch, hence why they used it as an example. Basically saying “We have been asked about this switch alot so lets kill too birds with one stone”. I’m glad I jumped ship to T-Mobile.

  37. No the iPhone is not the most expensive smartphone out there. Really not that hard to figure out.

  38. I have Tmobile. I wasn’t due for an upgrade until Feb 2011. I got my upgrade to the Vibrant July this year. Guess how much my “early upgrade fee” was…..ZERO!!! That’s just another example of Tmobile’s excellent customer care. They gave me my upgrade 7 months early with NO FEE!!! Take that one AT&T. Stupid iPhone users can suck a dick. Just thought I’d add that in there.

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